This past weekend, while Paige and Breanne were in Austin, TX for the Austin City Limits Festival, I packed up and headed to New York for the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science! After our team attended the Bay Area Maker Faire earlier this year, RadioShack signed on to be a presenting sponsor for the World Maker Faire in New York, as we were immediately able to see how important Maker Faire is to the DIY community.
This was my first Maker Faire, and I have to say, it completely surpassed my expectations and helped me get a better idea of what DIY is all about.
I saw some pretty incredible things at Maker Faire NY. One of my favorite was the 3D printers from MakerBot. 3D printers are exactly what they sound like – you design something, just as you would write a paper for a regular printer, and then press print. Instead of ink on paper, the 3D printers use plastic to construct your design. It’s truly incredible, and when you see them in action, you immediately see the benefit, even for companies. Why stock an unending supply of small knobs and parts for discontinued products when you can simply share the design files and allow consumers to print their own on-demand?
MakerBot was even showing off a new version of their Thing-O-Matic that supports two spools of plastic, so you can print things with multiple colors! The possibilities here are endless, and it seemed quite simple to learn how to use and operate, as well.
Another highlight for me was the awe-inspiring Gon KiRin sculpture. This fire-breathing dragon is crafted from steel, old car tires, and a myriad of other junkyard-type materials. It’s mounted on top of an old truck, and can be driven around while it breathes fire through its snout! The best part is that the whole thing is kid-friendly, so that the youngsters can experience the fun, climbing up a ladder at the end to crawl inside the belly of the beast! The fire mechanism is even hooked up to a button, so kids can have the chance to make Gon KiRin emit a fiery blast even more fierce than normal! Stay tuned to The Shack Blog soon to see us interview Teddy Lo, the LED artist responsible for the awesome lighting that outlines Gon KiRin’s body, as well.
Robotics were everywhere, as well, most of them based on the popular Arduino platform, though this one used the Microsoft Kinect gaming accessory.
While this robot was built with the LEGO Mindstorms NXT software.
Food abounded, including these huge vats of paella, a rice dish that includes a medley of various meats and vegetables – the perfect meal to embody the creative mixture of parts, pieces, and people that is Maker Faire.
One of the best parts of Maker Faire, for me, was seeing all the young kids with such excitement on their face, with their parents along for the ride. As a new father, it’s really encouraging to see parents supporting their children as they dream up different ways that they could use these projects to do things in the future. For our part, at the RadioShack booth, we were teaching young and old alike the joys of soldering with a simple flashlight kit.
We’ll have more Maker Faire coverage over the next few days – you can subscribe to our RSS feed if you want to keep up, or just follow us on Twitter or Facebook. What do you think is the coolest thing about Maker Faire?